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Government Commissioners publish third report into Liverpool City Council

Our third report to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was published this afternoon.

We believe that there is now cause for cautious optimism for the improvement journey of the Council. The leadership of the Council, at political and officer level, have shown grip and determination to improve at pace.

In our last report, we concluded that not enough progress had been made at Liverpool City Council since the start of the intervention. We set out our concerns that the Council had not correctly assessed the nature and scale of the improvements required and concluded that an expansion of the intervention, and the appointment of a Finance Commissioner, was necessary.

There are now areas of progress evidenced throughout the Council. A new organisational structure has also been agreed to improve capacity and capability, and progress is being made to improve recruitment processes. There have been improvements in Council tax collection from a low base, there is now a proper Audit Plan in place, and the Council have significantly reduced their backlog of lease renewals.

These are much-needed improvements. However, the next six months represents a period of profound change for the Council. This is a period of great opportunity, but changes of this magnitude inherently carry risk. The All-Out elections in May and the new model of governance will change the political leadership, alongside the officer leadership changes in the next few months. These changes cannot be allowed to interrupt the momentum that has been developed in recent months.

Last week, the new permanent Chief Executive, Andrew Lewis, was announced. We welcome his appointment and believe he is the right person to manage the challenges ahead and continue building on the improvements that we’ve recently been able to see at the Council.

Although further prioritisation and capacity is needed to keep up the pace of the transformation work over the next period, it increasingly looks like the right ingredients are being put in place for Liverpool City Council to make further progress. Commissioners will continue to work with LCC to ensure the positive trajectory continues.

Lead Commissioner, Mike Cunningham, said:

“We are pleased to announce that our third report on the intervention at Liverpool City Council has been published today.

“This report represents a positive shift in the progress the Council are making in their improvement journey.

“Although challenges and risks to continued improvement remain, we are cautiously optimistic that the current positive trajectory will continue.

“We will work closely with the new permanent Chief Executive, Andrew Lewis, to help mitigate some of the challenges ahead.”